Friday Facts and Figures

Friday Facts and Figures: January 8, 2021

This is a dark week for democracy. 

Published on Jan 8, 2021 in General

Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond​.
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COVID-19 Cases: 510,839 | Deaths: 17,587
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]


This is a dark week for democracy. The events that transpired at the capitol are heart-wrenching and shameful, but no one should find them surprising. The insurrection at the heart of our democracy is a direct result of the dangerous myth of American exceptionalism and the endless coddling and promotion of white supremacy. Democracy is so incredibly fragile, and it will never properly work as long as we remain incapable of reckoning with our violent history and centuries of racism that attacks the very idea of a multi-racial government. Yes, the nation must come together, but we must also hold those accountable who aided, abetted, and legitimized the lies that made this week possible. One thing we cannot afford to do is move on without reconciliation and grappling with the ugliness that brought us to this moment. [The New York Times / Peter Barker]

$14.5 Billion

With the stroke of a pen, Governor Murphy enacted a new $14.5 billion corporate tax break program on Thursday, doubling down on a failed economic development strategy that threatens to bankrupt the state. The bill repeats mistakes of the past by mirroring some of the most egregious elements of the corporate tax subsidy programs signed into law under the Christie administration — and at an even bigger price tag. While the proposals include a number of laudable oversight reforms, the sheer scale of the tax break package will crowd out revenue in future budgets to invest in proven building blocks of a strong economy, like education, health care, child care support, mass transit, and job training. In a legislative hearing last month, NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson characterized the price tag of the bill as “the height of irresponsibility.” [NJ BIZ / Daniel Munoz]


Earlier this week, numerous press outlets ran stories on a dubious survey from United Van Lines, a private moving company, which called New Jersey the top out-migration state in the nation. The problem: numbers from one moving company are not an accurate depiction of migration in and out of New Jersey. Not by a long shot. Thankfully, ROI-NJ’s Tom Bergeron gave us an opportunity to point out just why this survey is flawed, and why the press and lawmakers alike need to stop giving it so much attention. Simply put, facts matter, and so do good data. [ROI-NJ / Tom Bergeron]


Finally, some good news. January 1 not only signaled the end of the dumpster fire that was 2020, but it also brought some relief to New Jersey’s lowest-paid workers as the state’s minimum wage increased to $12 an hour. As NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez explains here, this is the latest increase under the 2019 law to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. “This raise will help workers better afford basic needs, ensure more families can cope with the increased financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and better maintain the economic demand for goods that small businesses need to thrive,” Nicole writes. This means that workers, their families, and businesses alike will all benefit from this increase. More work remains to be done, however, to ensure all workers can make ends meet. [NJPP / Nicole Rodriguez]


NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez was on TV earlier this week to talk about the many benefits of raising the minimum wage. In this segment, Nicole explains that when low-wage workers are paid more, that money gets spent immediately and locally. Bill Spitz, a small business owner in Jersey City, agrees, saying, “It’s what’s good for all of us.” [NJ Spotlight News / Leah Mishkin]


NJPP was on the radio this week, as well. In this segment on WNYC, Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson breaks down how the bloated $14.5 billion corporate tax break bill is bad news for New Jersey’s finances. [WNYC / Nancy Solomon]

Pets of NJPP

Writing this week’s Friday Facts and Figures email means I get to pick this week’s Pet of NJPP — so I’m picking my own! Meet Scout, who celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday. To celebrate, she enjoyed a hamburger, cupcake, and brand new toy! Scout is a border collie mix, so she likes to keep busy, often watching what’s happening out on the street from her bed and running around the house tossing her favorite ball. If it’s quiet, you can find her sleeping in front of the fireplace.

If you’d like your furry friend to be featured next week, email a photo with your pet’s name and some fun facts to NJPP Communications Director Louis Di Paolo at

Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy. 

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